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With Santa Clara and San Francisco splitting a home-and-home series, surprising Pacific, 4-0 in the West Coast Athletic Conference, took over the league lead as it beat St. Mary's twice, 98-73 and 101-59. Bill Stricker scored 30 points in the first win; the Tigers outrebounded the Gaels 62-37 in the rematch. A lineup of senior Center Pete Cross and four sophomores won 70-64 at home for USF as Guard Terry Senn scored 14 of 15 free throws in the second half against the Broncos. Despite fouling out with nine minutes to play, Cross outrebounded Santa Clara's tough Dennis Awtrey, and Dons' Forward Johnny Burks outscored the Broncs' Ralph Ogden 21-20. Three nights later at Santa Clara, USF's free-throw shooting turned foul as the Dons lost 72-60. They missed five consecutive one-and-one chances at the close of the first half and then lost a three-point edge late in the second period when Santa Clara reeled off eight straight points.
Oregon State, which opened the week last in the Pacific Eight, suddenly looked like a contender after easy wins over Washington and Washington State. The Beavers blistered the Huskies with a 62% shooting average and stymied them with a tight zone defense as they won 60-47. Against Washington State, OSU scored the final 16 points of the first half to build an insurmountable 33-17 lead and then coasted to an 80-65 victory.
Brigham Young and Utah visited their state's best team, Utah State, and each nearly came away with a victory. The Cougars led by 10 points before the Aggies shifted to an aggressive man-to-man defense, forced 14 turnovers and rallied for their 97-94 win. The Redskins pushed State into overtime, but they lost 106-98.
Weber State jumped into the Big Sky Conference lead with a 120-72 home-court win over Gonzaga and a pair of road victories at Montana State, 73-70 and 66-52. The two wins away from home put Weber one up on its toughest Big Sky rival, Idaho State. The best the Bengals could do after beating Idaho 79-75 was split back-to-back road games at Montana, losing the opener 81-73 and taking the second game 96-89.
New Mexico State, which earlier had won by 30 points against Hardin-Simmons on the road, needed Jimmy Collins' six consecutive field goals in the second half to defeat the Cowboys at Las Cruces 83-75. Texas at El Paso jumped ahead in the Western Athletic Conference with thumping 73-59 and 108-64 wins over Arizona and Arizona State.
There are, Davidson Coach Terry Holland thanks the good Lord, no more saints on the regular-season schedule. His Wildcats, 11-2 and beaten earlier by St. John's, lost last week to St. Joseph's 90-81. Guard Danny Kelly fired in 33 points for the Hawks, including 15 in the last 11 minutes, while Mike Hauer added 27 and, more important, held Davidson's Mike Maloy to only 13.
The Hawks, no longer blessed, lost 89-80 to Georgetown, which also downed Columbia 72-68, a team it had lost to the year before by 41 points. The Hoyas came from 10 behind in the second half as sophomore substitute Mike Laughna scored 18 points.